Estate Plans Should Contemplate Pets

Many people find great enjoyment in sharing their life with a pet. Data reveals that about 90.5 million families in the United States own pets. For both people who are natural caregivers and those who require a pet’s companionship, pets can introduce a great sense of belonging to people. The consideration of pets is routinely overlooked when anticipating death and incapacity, though.

Consider Your Pet’s Specific Needs

When creating a trust or last will and testament, the needs of specific animals should be considered. Passing on responsibilities associated with small pets that live indoors is substantially different than requesting someone watch barnyard animals. You should consider who might be able to act as a future caregiver for your pet. Remember to be realistic about how this person will likely handle taking care of your pet. 

Select an Appropriate Caretaker for the Pet

Another major issue is to consider whether the potential caretaker already has several pets. In one matter, passing on ownership of pets to someone without other animals might mean that individual has the time to care for the pet. This person, however, might not realize the time and cost associated with caring for a pet. Lastly, you should assess whether the individual has the time available to care for your animals. 

How to Address a Pet Trust

The appropriate place to put specific guidelines for your pet or pets is either in a trust or last will and testament. Rather than name specific pets, you should utilize broad language to encompass any pets that you have at the time you pass away. You also might decide to leave bequests based on the category of pet.

Some people prefer an easier and less formal arrangement for pets, which does not involve the creation of any type of estate planning structure. In these situations, if a person fully trusts the executor and the individual who will care for the pet, the person simply informs an executor about their wishes for the type of care a pet should receive. Addressing things in this manner, however, leaves open the possibility that your pet might not obtain the care you want them to receive.

Don’t Forget About Pet Costs

Despite the type of animals, remember that the cost of passing on pets should always be taken into consideration in a plan. Pets routinely require regular expenses involving care. Even for pets that are healthy at the time that you pass away, their cost might later become much more expensive. While many people are willing to take care of another person’s pets, these individuals might not be able to handle the substantial cost. To make sure that your pet continues receiving adequate care, you should consider leaving money for the pet’s care. 

Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

The estate planning process can be difficult to navigate, but the experience of an estate planning lawyer can make matters much easier. If you need the assistance of a skilled estate planning attorney, do not hesitate to contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.


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